Church Development

Church Development

Church Development in the folk church (MUV)

  • Churches are invited to be partners in a systematic development process. This is organized as a
    3-year journey.

  • The work builds on experiences from a pilot project that was carried out between 2008 and 2011.

  • MF will facilitate an academic network and discussions in the field of church development. There will be seminars and continuing education courses arranged.

  • We have contact with relevant experts in countries such as Denmark and Sweden that exchange experiences in corresponding work.  In addition we participate in a wider international network of church development.

​Books about church development

Sammen i forandring. Refleksjoner om menighetsutvikling i folkekirken provides insight and offers suggestions on how one can work with church development.

Menighetsutvikling i folkekirken. Erfaringer og muligheter presents experiences from research and development work and discusses various aspects of church development.

Contact us

Menighetsutvikling i folkekirken
MF vitenskapelig høyskole 
Postboks 5144 Majorstuen 
0302 Oslo

Direct telephone: 22 59 05 18 / 928 32 645 (Erling Birkedal)

About the MUV-project

About the MUV-project


MF’s work with church development is organized as a project, with its own steering committee and economy.

The steering committee consists of Harald Hegstad, professor at MF (Leader), Paul Erik Wirgenes Department Director in the Church Council, Frank Grimstad Department Director in KA, and Sjur Isaksen, faculty lector at MF. Erling Birkeland is the Project Leader and Secretary for the steering committee.

The project has a diverse reference group, with members from universities/colleges, institutions/organizations, diocese council, the Church Council, and KA - Church employer and interest group.


The project has a mixed economy. The church council contributes the base funding. There are contributors from individual organizations, such as Areopagos and the Norwegian Mission Society, and support is sought from various funds. The congregations that participate contribute with a yearly fee. MF, and other institutions we work with, contribute with labour from some of our employees. This includes people that are mentors for congregations that take part in the project.

Contributing Congregations

Congregations that participate in the project with a “three-year journey” come from several dioceses:

  • Bjørgvin diocese: Five congregations in the Bergen region, from 2011.
  • Stavanger diocese: Four congregations in Karmøy deanery, from 2011.
  • Agder and Telemark diocese: Four congregations in Skien deanery, from 2011.
  • Oslo diocese: Nine congregations, from 2012.
  • Nidaros diocese: Four congregations, from 2012.

In addition there were ten congregations from Møre and Tunsberg diocese that participated in the pilot project from 2008-2011.

Responsible for the Project at MF​

Employees at MF that have special responsibility in the project, outside the steering committee: Project Leader/Researcher Erling Birkedal,​ 

Birkedal has the responsibility of establishing contact with the pilot congregations and various partners.
Telephone: 22590518 / 92832645​

Fellow Turid Skorpe Lannem,
PhD Student and associated with the project until 2013.

Fellow​ Sunniva Gylver, 
PhD Student and associated with the project until 2013.

Will your church be involved?

Will your church be involved?

  • What does it mean to be a church?
  • What should a church do?
  • What are your dreams and thoughts about the church?
  • How do we see the overall picture when reforms happens and there are different plans for various parts of the church?

We invite churches to a collaboration focusing on these questions and challenges. Through this we pursue one of the visions of the Norwegian church: “Together we will ... drive church development characterized by renewed worship, religious education and diakonia”. (Vision document for the Norwegian church 2009-2014).

3-year Journey
Churches are invited to a 3-year journey in church development. Download information brochure for parish council.

Erling Birkedal is the project leader and has primary responsibilities for contact with churches that are in the project:

Erling Birkedal, Dr. Art. Associate

Tools and Resources

Tools and Resources

The project churches have access to various tools for working with church development.
Some of these are also available to others who are interested. Further information may be obtained by contacting the researcher on the project.

Tools that are available​

(norwegian only)

  • Questionnaire: Experiences and opinions about church and congregation 
  • Interview with members of the church 
  • We offer guidance 
  • Timeline for the church